The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 27 cases of the novel coronavirus and no additional deaths, a moderate rise in cases on a weekend where the nation’s attention is on Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where President Trump is in treatment for COVID-19.
The president’s announcement Friday that he and his wife, Melania, tested positive for COVID-19 spurred concern and, among some Mainers, disbelief, given the amount of misinformation circulating in recent times.
Trump made the announcement early Friday morning; by that evening, feeling symptoms of fever and fatigue, he boarded the Marine One helicopter to be taken to Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland. On Saturday, a team of doctors held a press conference on the steps of the hospital and reported that the president was in good spirits, had strong vital signs, was not on supplemental oxygen and was undergoing a five-day course of remdesivir therapy, an antiviral medication.
Maine’s congressional delegation on Friday sent their best wishes for Trump’s recovery – and also called for all Americans to remain vigilant against the virus. “This is yet another reminder that this virus can affect anyone – regardless of your politics or your power,” Sen. Angus King said in a tweet.
On Saturday, Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 5,486, representing a net increase of 18 cases since Friday. The reported number of new cases on Saturday – 27 – is higher than the difference in daily totals because the Maine CDC revises its numbers of cumulative total cases based on how many “probable” cases later test negative, and on the results of contact tracing investigations.
Of those 5,486 cumulative cases, 4,920 have been confirmed by testing and 566 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.
One hundred forty-two people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 4,763 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 581 active cases on Saturday.
Maine state officials continued to cite businesses for pandemic-related safety violations last month, issuing eight more citations since mid-September.
The businesses include Pat’s Pizza in Portland, which failed to require customers to wear masks when not seated, as well as other restaurants, a pool hall in Bangor and a campground in Millinocket.
The pace of citations increased recently, as cases ramped up around the state; only one of 24 total citations was issued before Aug. 20. But state officials say citations do not “fluctuate” based on current COVID-19 statistics.
Most businesses cited for noncompliance suffered no penalty because they quickly corrected any breaches of protocol – or had their operating licenses suspended for periods as brief as a day. Only one business, Rick’s Cafe in Naples, still has a suspended license.
This past Wednesday, Maine reported 59 new cases, its largest one-day spike since May. State health officials said they were unsure what had caused that high a caseload; an increase in testing capacity could explain part, but not all, of it, they said.
A rash of outbreaks in York County continues to account for a large part of the state’s overall virus infections. As of Thursday, the Maine CDC was responding to 17 outbreaks in York County, which has become the state’s new epicenter, generating 40 percent of all new cases over the past two weeks.
The University of Maine System on Saturday reported no change in its number of active cases, remaining at five cases across all eight schools, the same as Friday. There were three active cases at the University of Maine in Orono, one at the University of Maine at Farmington and one at the University of Maine at Augusta.
County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 758 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 47 in Aroostook, 2,344 in Cumberland, 62 in Franklin, 54 in Hancock, 224 in Kennebec, 44 in Knox, 50 in Lincoln, 152 in Oxford, 260 in Penobscot, nine in Piscataquis, 69 in Sagadahoc, 86 in Somerset, 78 in Waldo, 18 in Washington, and 1,229 in York.
By age, 11.9 percent of patients were under 20, while 16.7 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 14.1 percent were in their 40s, 16 percent were in their 50s, 11.6 percent were in their 60s, 7.3 percent were in their 70s, and 7.1 percent were 80 or over.
Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just over 51 percent.
Effective Oct. 1, the Maine CDC says it will no longer update hospital capacity data on weekends. On Friday, Maine’s hospitals had 11 patients with COVID-19, of whom two were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. The state had 106 intensive care unit beds available of a total 381, and 246 ventilators available of 318. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 34.7 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had over 7.3 million cases and 209,162 deaths.
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